The Wicked Wyckerly, the first of my Rebellious Sons series, will officially be released next week, but I’m brushing up for a blog tour and thought I’d start nattering here, no matter what the release date.
Which means free books! I have to do something with those boxes of books that have arrived on my doorstep. I’ll give one away today and at each blog I attend next week. So if you don’t win today, take a look at the sidebar and drop in to say hi wherever you can, please! It’s always nice to have friends around when I’m visiting.
I have an excerpt for the new book at my website at www.patriciarice.com if you want to test the Wyckerly waters. It’s not the first chapter because I’m always afraid readers will have my bad memory and think they’ve already read the book if they pick it up and the first page seems familiar.
I wish I did clever first lines so I could post one here, but it takes a paragraph or two before John Fitzhugh Wyckerly’s personality really kicks in—but personality he has, in spades. And hearts, clubs, and diamonds. Fitz is a mathematical genius who gambles for a living. You’ll have to pick up the book to read the opening since I don't have room to include it here.
The thing about Fitz is that he acknowledges his faults and wishes he could have been a true gentleman who took the Grand Tour Anne talked about a few weeks ago. He also wishes he had been able to attend university, but his father decided a wine cellar was more important. So with no money or family support or education, Fitz became a charming gambler, the extra male needed to complete a dinner table, an idler who conceived a child while still under the illusion that love would make him better. It didn’t.
So he’s one more in a line of Wicked Wyckerlys when his brother breaks his neck in a drunken stumble, and Fitz is suddenly earl of a bankrupt estate and must assume a burden of responsibility he’s had no training to handle. It’s no wonder he panics and chooses to go after the horse he’s won in a card game instead of hanging around, waiting for his family’s creditors to heave him in gaol.
Although, in actuality, aristocrats were spared debtor’s prison. Their creditors just had bailiffs haul off the furnishings. Brummel had to flee to France to escape his debts because he was a commoner. The Marchioness of Worcester, on the other hand, watched bailiffs drag off everything she owned, except the gown she wore, when her husband ran up a hundred thousand pound debt he had no hope of paying. Gambling was an addiction that destroyed families high and low, but in aristocratic circles, gaming debts had to be paid immediately. It was a matter of honor. Which meant that all the tradesmen that supplied the household usually went unpaid.
So my gambling earl would be well aware of the stakes involved upon inheriting an estate so deeply in debt. If he didn’t pay the tradesmen, they were likely to starve unless they went to court to have everything on the estate taken away. How would you like to be handed that mess?
However, making his living at cards taught Fitz a great deal about human nature, and he knows how to take advantage of opportunity when it knocks. And naturally, our fearless heroine, Abigail Merriweather, encompasses all the excellent traits he could desire in a wife—except the extortionate wealth the estate requires. Given that she’s desperately attempting to reclaim her four half-siblings from a guardian who believes they should be raised by a man, she’s a money pit worse than his estate.
But Abby is the woman he wants, and for the first time in his life, Fitz is in a position to go after what he wants, no matter what he has to do to have her. He just has to convince his stubborn Abby that he’s not so wicked after all…
Why is it we’re so fascinated with Regency England when in reality, much of the ton spent their time fiddling while the Continent went up in flames? I’ll pick one commenter for a free book based solely on whim!
And for the e-book lovers out there, MAGIC MAN will be released as an e-book at www.bookviewcafe.com on Friday!